Science fiction by LarryNiven and JerryPournelle. The sequel to TheMoteInGodsEye?. See also: GrippingHand?.
The title is reference to a species of 3-armed aliens, who have 2 smaller, dextrous arms, and one larger strong arm. They discuss alternatives as "On the one hand.....,on the other hand,...on the gripping hand"
CategoryBook, CategoryIdiom (used frequently by geeks all over the world, apparently)